Meditation Helps You Live Longer by Protecting Your DNA

Solid experimental evidence supports the claim that meditation can reduce stress, improve general health, and perhaps most impressively, lengthen the human lifespan.

What's the Latest?

Solid experimental evidence gathered by Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn supports the claim that meditation can reduce stress, improve general health, and perhaps most impressively, lengthen the human lifespan. Blackburn was the first to discover the existence of telomeres, protective caps on the end of our chromosomes that shield our DNA from degeneration as our cells divide over time. Inevitably, as our DNA splits again and again to create copies of itself, our telomeres wear down and cells lose the ability to divide and replicate. The slowing and eventual halting of that process is what drives aging and eventually the event of death. 

What's the Big Idea?

Experiments have shown that meditating can increase the length of our telomeres, protecting our dividing cells for longer, allowing them to create more copies of themselves over time, thereby increasing longevity. In a study of meditators at the Shambhala mountain retreat in northern Colorado, "those who completed a three-month-long course had 30% higher levels of telomerase than a similar group on a waiting list." Today, Blackburn is speaking to the federal government, encouraging spending on what she calls "societal stress reduction." In other words, instructing high risk individuals, such as new mothers, on how to reduce their stress is likely to contribute positively to their long-term health.

Read more at BBC Future

Photo credit: Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less